It has been a long time. I should not have left you.
The WNBA Finals are back. It is a rematch of last year’s WNBA Finals.
No surprise. It is the No. 1 seed Minnesota Lynx versus the No. 2 seed Los Angeles Sparks. Both teams played it close to get here. Now is the present moment. A best-of-five series for the Sparks to repeat or for the Lynx to get revenge after being dethroned.
This will be the second time in league history that the same teams have met in back-to-back WNBA Finals: Previously, it was Houston and New York in 1999 and 2000, both won by the Houston Comets.
The Lynx swept the Washington Mystics to get here. The Sparks went down to the final seconds to sweep the Phoenix Mercury.
This is the best of the best now, folks.
Candace Parker, last year’s WNBA Finals MVP, is always going to be incredibly hard to stop. The Sparks’ offense goes through her.
The Lynx have the newly-crowned WNBA Most Valuable Player at the center position in Sylvia Fowles.
The series features 11 former All-Stars and four former MVPs.
Oh by the way, Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, Nneka Ogwumike, Alana Beard and Odyssey Sims all will be on the court during this finals.
Last year it went back and forth and came down to the final seconds of Game 5. Ogwumike’s short jumper with 3.1 seconds left, off the rebound of Parker’s blocked shot, gave the Sparks a 77-76 victory over the defending champion Lynx. It was the Sparks’ first title in 14 years.
A Finals classic.
The series starts Sunday at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
Game 1: Sunday, Sept. 24 — Los Angeles @ Minnesota, 3:30 PM ET, ABC
Game 2: Tuesday, Sept. 26 — Los Angeles @ Minnesota, 8 PM ET, ESPN2
Game 3: Friday, Sept. 29 — Minnesota @ Los Angeles, 9 PM ET, ESPN2
Game 4*: Sunday, Oct. 1 — Minnesota @ Los Angeles, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN
Game 5*: Wednesday, Oct. 4 — Los Angeles @ Minnesota, 8 PM ET, ESPN
“It’s the way it should be: the two best teams playing for a championship,” Parker said. “It’s great for the WNBA, and I’m really proud of the road we took to get here. It hasn’t always been easy, but now we’re back in the same position as last year.”
The Sparks are on a 10-game winning streak, and they’re doing it with an assortment of players contributing.
These are two evenly matched teams no matter which statistical comparison is presented. The two largest discrepancies come in rebounds (advantage Lynx) and turnovers (advantage Sparks).
Both the Lynx and the Sparks have won three titles; Minnesota prevailing in 2011, ’13 and ’15, and Los Angeles in 2001, ’02 and ’16.
These Finals will not be an easy one to pick a winner. The edge goes to the team that scores the most points in Game 5.